Top executives at the hedge fund that owns Digital First Media must have felt terrible that employees at the newspaper company weren’t getting any raises in 2017. So they did something about it. They gave themselves a raise.
After 14 months of negotiations, the Chronicle and the Pacific Media Workers Guild on Wednesday reached tentative agreement on a four-year labor contract that offers an average annual merit-based pay raise of 2 percent and – for the first time – a 401(k) employer contribution and match of up to 2.5 percent of annual salary.
DFM management came to a bargaining session empty-handed, telling a national coalition of NewsGuild representatives that the company’s hedge fund ownership intends to keep employee pay frozen companywide to help maintain its profits. Alden Global Capital, principal owner of Digital First Media, has earned worldwide notoriety for its ruthless staff cuts and double-digit profit margins. The ongoing damage to newsrooms across the country has triggered protests from New York to Denver to the Bay Area.
An overwhelming majority of the 63 unionized workers in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newsroom voted on April 25 to ratify a five-year contract with owner Oahu Publications Inc.
In a near-unanimous vote, workers at The Maui News on Monday voted to ratify a two-year contract with newspaper ownership that runs to April of 2020. The vote was verified Tuesday. With more than three-quarters of eligible members submitting a ballot, 32 votes were cast for the new agreement, which …
Chronicle Guild negotiators rejected Hearst Corp.’s demand to eliminate union jurisdiction over the marketing and advertising departments. Our committee sent a letter on Monday to convey that stance to the management.
Bargaining continued in late January, early February at all four McClatchy California units (The Modesto Bee, The Fresno Bee, The Sacramento Bee and News Desk West). Full contracts are up at Modesto, Fresno and News Desk West while Sacramento has a reopener. The guild and company were able to narrow bargaining to a few core issues during each of the sessions. They include the new metrics for page view goals, seniority language in the case of layoffs, minimum salary levels and merit pay scales, equipment reimbursement, and drug policy.
Twenty-one Guild members are being bought out and layoffs are next. How many more people will be let go is not known.
Contract negotiations resumed in San Francisco on Tuesday and Wednesday with a focus on community interpreting and two bedrocks of any labor contract: just cause discipline and the right to arbitrate.
Negotiations for a 2018 wage re-opener covering 13 bargaining units will open soon as Digital First Media ordered a new wave of staff cuts throughout California and in suburban Philadelphia in January. In response, DFM workers are escalating their contract campaign against Alden Global Capital, the New York hedge fund that owns DFM and that has been systematically stripping newspaper assets since 2012.